Our first Fiat 500 Club event

Our trip to the 35th Dutch Fiat 500 Club Anniversary was keenly anticipated as my first ever event with the Club. As we were travelling in a family group of three, I had intended to trailer our beloved 500 to Limburg. Then acting as tail end Charlie for the convoy of 500’s in our modern car. I’d arranged to hire a trailer months in advance however events took a different turn on the day and no trailer materialised. I had to take the agonising decision to leave our Fiat at home.

We made it to the Harwich Ferry terminal through passport control & security. ‘Look for a girl in a pink hoodie – Amy’ was received by text. Heading to the lounge bar we met up with our new travelling companions. We need not have worried !

After a comfy night’s sleep & light breakfast we rolled off the ferry at the Hook of Holland. It was here that I got my first glimpse of the 500 fleet.

With Rotterdam’s busy roads behind us, a comfort stop gave us the chance to stretch our legs. Fully refreshed we set off again for Fiat 500 Ricambi in Venray to rendezvous with the U.K. 500’s already enjoying their Northern European Tour. Here again we received a very warm welcome from both Paul and the rest of the club and also from Frank Derksen who kindly laid on a buffet lunch for us all. We then had the opportunity to tour around his treasure trove brimming with goodies and embraced all things Fiat. We left Ricambi somewhat laden down with Fiat essentials (& a few non essentials).

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With the formalities of registration over we parked at our accommodation: that night due to a slight mix up we were given an enormous luxurious villa that housed our entire party. Next morning we transferred to our individual chalets and settled in. The resort (Dutch equivalent to Centre Parcs) offered a variety of accomodation from villas and bungalows to tents and caravans. Amongst these our bungalow.

The following days were spent in convoy driving though the Dutch countryside in bright sunshine through little villages. Did I forget to mention the evening dinner/disco and fireworks night and the balloons?

Although the Dutch are usually very efficient in these things no English translations were offered for our daily drives. This is when Mother stepped in and translated the often double Dutch route instructions for the team.

It was a real delight to follow these little Fiat’s as they navigated their way through the Limburg countryside.

Our return journey was as ever well planned by Paul and having made the journey back to Rotterdam without any problems and having successfully navigated the 7 lane roundabout!!

My highlights ? Meeting members of the club seeing 200+ fiats in the car park at Castlegarden Arcen.

On our return to Britain we all bade our fond farewells and safe journeys home.

The whole event was everything that I had anticipated and much more. To meet, be welcomed and befriended by enthusiastic Club members whom accepted us into the clan so warmly. An enormous thank you to all for a wonderful time!

(Garlenda next year anyone?)

Bill Ling and Betty Westroek